NRSGH Systematic Review and meta-analysis course - NIPH

The aim of this course is to introduce systematic review methodology and critical appraisal skills to enable PhD students to write and implement systematic reviews.

The course is a 5-day course comprising a 3-day session followed by approximately 5 weeks during which the participants work on a protocol for a systematic review. Then the participants convene again for a final 2-day session. The course will be in the autumn 2017, respectively 27th to 29th of September and 2nd to 3rd of November. In order to allow for travel to Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Oslo, the first day of the sessions will start late and finish late (e.g. 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.); the last day will start early and end early (e.g. 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)

The course is mainly lectures with interactive work in small groups to practice skills, all of which are directly related to the participants’ own research question. Between sessions, the participants are required to keep in contact with their instructor through e-mails and will be offered an hour of supervision. The course will constitute 5 ETCS. All course activities are mandatory and participants will give a presentation at the end of the last teaching block. The exam is to submit a protocol for a systematic review by December 1st, 2017.

Elisabeth Darj will be responsible for the course and Lillebeth Larun and Kjetil G Brurberg will run the course at NIPH in Oslo. There will be used additional lecturers from NIPH when needed. Contact person is Lillebeth Larun, ph. 90635591, e-post

Registration is now closed (contact Elin Yli Dvergsdal if you have questions)


Recommended previous knowledge:

The course is in English and participants are required to read and write English. In addition, the participants must have knowledge of research methods at a Masters level. 

Required previous knowledge:

The course is open to PhD candidates who are members of the Norwegian Research School of Global health (NRSGH).

The maximum number of participants is 20 and the applicants must have a tentative research question ready for the systematic review.

Academic content:

The role of systematic reviews, their impact and introduction to different types of systematic reviews:

  •  Developing a protocol for a systematic review
  •  Literature searching
  •  Critical appraisal of primary studies and systematic reviews
  •  Data extraction
  •  Synthesis and meta-analysis

Course material

Egger M, Davey Smith G, Altman D (eds). Systematic Reviews in Health Care. BMJ 2001. (Kap 1, 5,9, 15)

Cochrane Handbook for systematic reviews of interventions (Kap. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10,11,12, 20)

Nettkurs om kunnskapsbasert praksis:

Guyatt GH, Oxman AD, Kunz R, Vist GE, Falck-Ytter Y, Schünemann HJ: GRADE Working Group. Rating quality of evidence and strength of recommendations: What is "quality of evidence" and why is it important to clinicians? BMJ. 2008 May 3;336(7651):995-8 For downloading of  GRADEpro and more information about GRADE:

Malterud K. Qualitative research: standards, challenges, and guidelines. The Lancet 2001; 358, 9280

Teaching methods and activities:

The course consists of lectures and activities in small groups and pairs, as well as individual writing time and one-to-one feedback from the instructor. After the course, participants can send their work to the instructor for additional feedback and follow-up.

Learning outcome:

By the end of the course, the participants will have written a protocol to be published in PROSPERO. In addition will the participants:

  • Understand the role of a systematic review
  • Understand the difference between a narrative and a systematic review
  • Have knowledge of the basic elements for a protocol for a systematic review
  • Critically appraise different search strategies
  • Learn how to deal with "publication bias"
  • Develop and make a plan to find a relevant research for the own systematic review
  • Develop and plan inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • Develop and critically appraise a sheet for data extraction
  • Appraise risk of bias of included studies with explicit criteria in a transparent way
  • Be able to do and understand meta-analyse in RevMan
  • Pros and cons of combining outcomes of included studies
  • Be able to explore and appraise statistical, methodological and clinical heterogeneity
  • Be able to appraise the quality of the evidence with GRADE
  • Understand ”summary of findings”-tables

Learn about systematic reviews of qualitative and diagnostic studies.


This course is only available for NRSGH members. Become a member?